In an ugly, lazy affair, the Nets looked nothing like the team that had taken down the Chicago Bulls and the Memphis Grizzlies in back-to-back games, letting an underwhelming Celtics team take advantage of Brooklyn's poor shooting. The Nets beat themselves as much as the Celtics beat them, missing open shots and throwing away too many possessions with silly turnovers.
The Nets missed their first seventeen three-point attempts, all in the first half, and outside of a late third-quarter run, they never took the lead.
I thought the Nets weren't that bad defensively -- they did force 25 turnovers -- but they were out-rebounded heartily even considering that difference, and the Celtics hit shots on a night Brooklyn didn't, and that's all it takes in some games. The low grade is as much about the magnitude of the loss, as it drops Brooklyn four games behind the Toronto Raptors for the division lead with 22 games left.
Hard game to grade Williams; he played well in the first half, but the results didn't match his process, and he got torched by a suddenly-effective-from-three Rajon Rondo. He finally started putting shots down in the second half, but the Nets were playing catch-up at that point.
Attempted a corner three-pointer in a new development, but had one of his worst games of the season: looked tentative trying to find teammates, struggled with his shot, couldn't put in layups, and committed unnecessary fouls.
His mid-range game was on point at times tonight, but couldn't hit anything else.
A less emotional but still poignant return for Pierce, who evoked another ovation from the Boston crowd and played just a bit better than last time. Hit some vintage mid-range shots but quiet otherwise. It was the second straight game Pierce got hit in his right shoulder/neck area.
The Celtics got points early by attacking Blatche defensively, putting him in a series of pick-and-rolls and taking advantage of his sluggish help defense, and once the city of New York allows him to marry his midrange jumper he'll buy a ring.
Here's an incomplete list of little things he did: switched onto Jared Sullinger and forced him into airballing a three-pointer, multiple pass deflections, covering Andray Blatche's defensive mistakes, "pulled the chair" on Kelly Olynyk to force a turnover, threw in a ridiculous whirling and-one layup. He can't hit a shot outside of the paint, but his ability to do all the little things can't be lost. He left the game in the fourth quarter after injuring himself after stealing a full-court lob pass. For his and Brooklyn's sake, I hope he's okay.
Entered the game ahead of Marcus Thornton, a curious development after Thornton looked like he'd taken his spot in the rotation. Quiet performance nonetheless.
Had some good shot attempts, but once he missed his first couple three-pointers, he looked like he was forcing it in hopes that he'd put a shot down to no avail. Did get one nice layup through contact during a third-quarter Nets run that seemed like a game-changer, but couldn't buy a bucket otherwise.
Has become Kidd's choice as reliable starter with Garnett out of the picture, which makes some sense -- it allows Blatche to stay with the second unit and Plumlee played well in his starting stints. Decent game and give him credit for hitting most of his shots backwards, but still fouling too much and not a rebound-hoarder.